It is estimated that over 100,000 Americans discover that they have colon cancer annually. Many of these cases include those who have been diagnosed with cancer that has metastasized (metastatic colon cancer). Most of us already know that at this stage, treatment may become more complicated and difficult. Some cases though still have some hope for a few years' survival.
Once colon or colorectal cancer has metastasized, it is no longer restricted to the tissues of the colon. It has already moved beyond to other organs of the body. The lymphatic system may be affected first. The cancer cells can then be transported through this same system to other organ cells in the lungs and liver. Other organs may extremely be affected too.
Those who have been diagnosed metastasized cancer should still consider undergoing treatment. Proper treatment can improve one's chances of extended survival compared to those who do not undergo treatment. Most patients treated for metastatic colon cancer have a 20% to 30% chance of survival for five more years after diagnosis. Those who do not have cancer cells that have spread to the lungs or liver, have an even higher rate of survival.
It is unfortunate that many people have very mild or no symptoms at the initial stages of cancer during which treatment is most effective. A number of people therefore do not find out about their condition until it is at an advanced stage. The best way to save yourself from the possibility of developing this kind of cancer is to simply prevent it. Although it can strike anyone, you can take precautions against it.
The first aspect that you should check is your lifestyle. There are some lifestyle habits and preferences that could increase a person's chance of developing colon cancer. This includes smoking, eating a lot of fatty foods, not eating enough fibrous and nutrient rich foods and being overweight – all are considered cancer risk factors.
You can also help prevent the advance to metastatic colon cancer by regularly scheduling yourself for screening. You should always consider this if you have any of the above-mentioned risk factors. Regular screening is also usually advisable for people over 50 years old.
What to Look For
Aside from modifying your lifestyle and regular screening, you can help ensure proper and prompt treatment by watching out for the signs and symptoms of possible colon cancer.
Clear colon cancer symptoms often appear only when the disease is at an advanced stage. There may be some clues though in the initial stages that may tell you that a visit to the doctor should already be scheduled. Consider asking for a doctor's opinion if you have incrementally irregular bowel movements, blood in the stools, and abdominal pains. You can have some other digestive problem but it is better to be sure.
If the cancer cells have metastasized, you could experience a variety of symptoms that will depend on the area that is affected. If the metastatic colon cancer cells move to the lungs, a patient will have evident breathing problems. At this point, stomach bloating and various bodily pains may also emerge.